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The American Flag

I put up the flag today.  A really really big one.  I got it when I was in the Air Force.  We had a flag pole in front of the Air Traffic Control facility where I worked at Patrick AFB.  They were going to turn the flag in, to have it burned (that's how they destroy old flags, which I find ironic in some way).  I talked those in charge to let me take it home.  Looked fine to me, a bit frayed at then ends, but not too badly.  Till today, it's been covering an entire wall inside my tack room.  For some reason, I wanted it close to me, where I spend a lot of time and near my horses.
This is not your normal flag.  It has to be over 10 feet wide.  I have this huge antenna thing next to my house (makes a great lightning rod) that is over 30 feet high.  It's mounted on the ground and you can climb it.  Seems like the previous owner didn't want cable TV and was really big into some kind of ham/CB radio.  I have wires that used to connect what must have been an elaborate system throughout my  house.  You should see the attic.
I tried to estimate what half staff would be.  A little above the roof.  So up I went, with the flag tucked up under my T-Shirt.  I had no intention of the flag falling to the ground.  First thing I noticed was it was a bit windy. The higher I climbed, the stronger the wind blew.  We've had storms for the last three days but I don't think anyone has paid much attention to the weather since Tuesday.  I know I haven't, and it's supposed to be my job.  I've even heard we have a hurricane brewing out on the southwestern side of Florida.  Doesn't seem worthy of much attention when the entire world is coming to an end.
Once I got above my roof top, the antenna triangle I was holding onto started swaying.  It always amazes me how much windier it is aloft than on the ground.  Pilots know of this, even as a former Air Traffic Controller I too am aware.  But just being 20 feet or more above the ground, the difference is phenomenal.  I had two hay ties in my mouth, which I was planning on using to tie the flag to my unusual staff.  As I unfurled the flag, a strong breeze went by, and out it went.  So strong it pulled me in the direction it was blowing.
It took me awhile, but I got it up.  And I lived to tell about it.  For some reason I wasn't afraid of falling, even though at my age I don't have the agility I used to have.  This was just something I had to do.  As soon as I got down, I looked at it.  I felt proud, and I did cry.  I haven't been myself lately.  A trucker went by down a busy road about a quarter mile from my house.  He tooted his air horn several times; I think he saw my flag.
I'm not a normal flag waver.  I don't even bring them out around my house during the 4th of July or on Memorial Day.  But I wanted it out today, and it will stay up there for sometime.  I might not ever take it down.  I'm going to figure out a way to light it up at night.  I need to see it flying right now, and I want my neighbors to see it too.


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